Things to do in Santa Rosa, NM plenty especially if you’re an outdoor lover and would love to explore the history of New Mexico.
If you’re exploring the area and you happen to pass along the historic Route 66, then Santa Rosa, New Mexico is one of the most amazing destinations in the state.
The town of Santa Rosa became famous due to this route and remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in New Mexico.
It has a lot to offer to both visitors and locals, whether you are looking for a place to dine, some scenic outdoor attractions or exploring the Wild West Histories.
Among the most popular attractions in the area is the Blue Hole, which is a popular diving spot.
One amazing thing about Santa Rosa, New Mexico is that you will find it to be a budget-friendly travel destination that has a lot of free things and attractions that won’t break your bank.
It is definitely a destination which you can explore and you will have a lot of fun whether you are visiting for several days or just a few hours.
In this post, I will go over a list of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, NM and some must-visit attractions so that you can plan your trip well.
Let’s dive straight into it.
Things to Do in Santa Rosa, NM
Take a Dive at the Blue Hole
The Blue Hole of Santa Rosa or simply the Blue Hole, is a natural swimming hole and a popular tourist attraction located along Route 66 east of Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
It is a circular bell-shaped pool or a small lake that was once used as a fish hatchery and is now a popular spot for swimming, training and diving.
The Blue Hole is an artesian well and a cenote containing crystal-clear blue waters that have a constant temperature of 62 Degrees Fahrenheit and a constant inflow of 3000 gallons per minute, enough to cycle out the water every 6 hours.
While the surface is only 8 ft in diameter, it expands to a diameter of 130ft at the bottom and the depth of the main pool is more than 80 feet below the surface.
Once you visit, you can enjoy swimming and diving and there are no charges.
It is one of the Seven Sister Lakes, all interlinked underground.
In order to dive into the Blue Hole, you have to purchase a $25 scuba permit that will last for one week.
Annual permits cost approximately $75 and are available at the Santa Rosa visitors center.
The diving spot is open to divers of all levels but it is recommended that you have an advanced open water certification and at least 30 logged dives.
It is crucial to be aware of your limits and follow safety diving practices.
Despite the lack of age restrictions, the management advises visitors with children to always accompany them.
Diving at the spot is a popular and fun activity and definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, NM.
Visit the Route 66 Auto Museum
Route 66 Auto Museum is a popular attraction in Santa Rosa, New Mexico that has a collection of vintages, retro, street rods, classic and other types of automobiles.
The museum has over 30 well restored vintage and antique motor vehicles as well as an assortment of bicycles, motorcycles and Route 66 memorabilia.
Once you visit this museum, you will enjoy the sight of cars from the 1930s to the 1970s and you can also see classic vehicles such as the 1934 Ford deluxe Roadster, a 1957 Chevy Bel Air, a 1969 Dodge Charger and many more.
The museum is open 7 days a week from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and charges an admission fee of $5 per person while children under the age of 12 can enter the facility for free.
You can take a self-guided tour to the museum and learn about the history and significance of these vehicles on display.
The museum also has a gift shop where you can purchase memorabilia and souvenirs related to Route 66 and the automobiles on display.
This museum is definitely a must-visit if you are a car enthusiast or if you’re interested in the history of Route 66.
Enjoying the sight of these classic autos is definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, NM.
Physical Address: 2436 Historic Rte 66, Santa Rosa, NM 88435, United States
Contact: +1 575-472-1966
Explore the Santa Rosa Lake State Park
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If you are looking for a serene outdoor recreation spot in Guadalupe County, New Mexico, then head over to Santa Rosa Lake State Park.
The park offers a number of services, activities and amenities including boating, bird-watching, hiking trails, fishing and many more.
The park has over 75 developed campsites and 25 electric campsites available for overnight stays.
Other amenities include a boat ramp, drinking water, comfort stations, dump, showers, restrooms and group shelters.
Once you visit the park, you can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including boating, fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, horseback riding, swimming, hiking and wildlife viewing.
You can also explore the park’s hiking trails and enjoy scenic views of the lake and the surrounding area.
The park charges an entry fee of $5 per car or half-price if visitors have America the Beautiful (National Park senior) pass.
If you’re interested in camping, the camping fees vary depending on the type of campsites and the time of the year.
Enjoying various outdoor activities at the Santa Rosa Lake State Park is definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, NM.
Physical Address: NM-91, Santa Rosa, NM 88435, United States
Contact: +1 575-472-3110
Visit the Park Lake
Park Lake is another popular outdoor destination in Santa Rosa, New Mexico that offers several opportunities for outdoor activities and events.
One of the most popular events held at the park is the Santa Rosa Days.
This series of events is held annually, usually around major holidays and it offers a variety of activities and entertainment.
If you love fishing, you can try your luck at catching a number of fish species at the park lake including the Bass, Catfish, Walleye and Crappie.
Other popular activities include boating and camping.
If you’re a boating lover, you can bring your own boat or rent boats at the park and enjoy the next calm waters.
The Park Lake has 75 developed campsites and 25 electric campsites available for overnight stays.
If you’re planning on camping, you can enjoy the park amenities including comfort stations, drinking water, am, handicap access, group, rest, restrooms and showers.
Additionally, Park Lake has a number of hiking trails where you can hike and enjoy scenic views of the lake and the surrounding areas.
Overall, Park Lake is a great destination for outdoor lovers and families looking to enjoy a variety of activities and beautiful natural settings.
Enjoying the outdoors at Park Lake is definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa NM.
Hike at the Trail of the Forty Niners
The trail of the Forty Niners is a historic route that passes through Santa Rosa, New Mexico and commemorates one of the alternative routes along the historic Route 66.
It is the roadside attraction that features a historic marker at the westbound rest stop at exit 252 on I-40.
The trail commemorates an alternative route from Arkansas to New Mexico used to buy gold tickets in the mid-1800s.
It is named after the forty niners, the nickname given to thousands of individuals who traveled to California in 1849 during the Gold Rush.
The trail entered Thayer County near present-day Alexandria and followed the big Sandy Valley where water, wood and grass were available.
You can stop at the historic marker and learn about the history of the trial and its significance in the area.
The trail’s connection to the gold rush era and the westward expansion of the United States add to the cultural and historical significance of route 66 as a whole.
A section of the trail was closed in July 2023 temporarily for maintenance purposes.
Having a glimpse into the history of the area and hiking along this trail is definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, NM.
Visit the Janes-Wallace Memorial Park
Janes-Wallace Memorial Park is a popular recreational area located just south of Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
It features a lake stocked with rainbow trout making it a popular fishing destination.
You can enjoy picnicking, hiking and bird watching at the park.
The park is home to the Janice Wallace Memorial Dam, which was built in 1929 using concrete and other earthen materials.
The Dam is located on El Rito Creek and provides breathtaking views of the park.
If you’re interested in catching a game at this park, you can enjoy a game of softball at the park, which is home to the Santa Rosa Softball Complex that hosts local games and tournaments.
The Janice-Wallace Memorial Park is a great destination for families and outdoor lovers looking to enjoy a variety of activities in a scenic setting.
Relaxing and enjoying the beautiful outdoor setting at the Janes-Wallace Memorial Park is definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, NM.
Grab a Bite at Joseph’s Bar and Grill
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Joseph’s Bar and Grill is a famous dining establishment located in Santa Rosa, New Mexico along the historic Route 66 and one of the must visit spots in Santa Rosa.
This popular destination has been serving travelers along this route since 1956 with authentic New Mexican cuisines.
Over the years, the business has expanded to include a gift shop, a full-service bar, and a night club featuring live entertainment and karaoke.
This restaurant is famed for its authentic New Mexican food, making it a favorite eatery for many locals and visitors alike.
In addition to New Mexican dishes, it also offers a variety of options on its menu such as specialty pizzas, burgers, sandwiches, and chicken fried steak ranchero.
You can also enjoy a drink as the restaurant offers a number of drinks that include margaritas, wine, beer and cocktails.
You can grab a bite of your favorite meal at this restaurant before or after exploring other popular destinations within Santa Rosa.
Physical Address: 1775 U.S. Rt. 66, Santa Rosa, NM 88435, United States
Contact: +1 575-472-3361
Grab a Meal at Comet II Drive-In and Restaurant
Comet II Drive-In and Restaurant is another popular eatery located in Santa Rosa, New Mexico along the historic Route 66.
The restaurant is known for its authentic New Mexican cuisine including dishes like green chile cheeseburgers, tacos and enchiladas.
You can view the restaurant’s menu online, which includes a variety of lunch, breakfast and dinner options.
The menu features classic Diner fare as well as new Mexican specialties.
The restaurant has a rating of 4 out of 5 in a number of top travel forums.
It is famed for its food and service in addition to its nostalgic atmosphere and location along the historic Route 66.
Comet II Drive-In is definitely a must-visit destination for anyone traveling along Route 66 if you’re looking to enjoy authentic Mexican Cuisine in a nostalgic setting.
Grabbing a meal at this restaurant is definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
Physical Address: 1257 U.S. Rt. 66, Santa Rosa, NM 88435, United States
Contact: +1 575-472-3663
Explore Bless Me Ultima Park
Bless Me Ultima Park is a landscape Park located in Santa Rosa, New Mexico that is dedicated to Rudolpho Anaya, the author of the novel “Bless Me, Ultima”.
The park is located at the corner of historic Route 66 and Lake Drive and comprises a section of Park Lake.
It features a statue of Rudolfo Anaya as well as a series of plaques that contain handwritten quotations from Bless Me Ultima.
Here, you can learn about the history as well as pay tribute to Rudolfo Anaya and his contributions to New Mexican literature and culture.
The Bless Me Ultima Park is located near other attractions in Santa Rosa including Park Lake, the Blue Hole and Santa Rosa Lake state park.
Learning the cultural and literary heritage of Santa Rosa, New Mexico at Bless Me Ultima Park is definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, NM.
Historic Guadalupe County Courthouse
The Historic Guadalupe County Courthouse is one of the notable landmarks located in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
It was built in 1909 in the Richardsonian Romanesque style and served as the Courthouse of Guadalupe County.
Carved sandstone eagles and urns adorn the roof at the four corners of the building.
In 1987, the courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Currently, the courthouse is no longer in use but it is still a significant landmark in Santa Rosa.
Once you visit, you will be able to learn more about the history of this historic landmark and how it shaped the area through its use.
The courthouse is located near other attractions in Santa Rosa that include the Park Lake, the Blue Hole and the Route 66 Auto Museum.
Visiting this courthouse and learning its important roles in the history of the state is definitely one of the best things to do in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
Explore the Water Park
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Park Lake in Santa Rosa, New Mexico is a popular destination for water sports and activities including a water park with inflatable obstacles and slides.
Water park offers a variety of inflatable of circles and slides suitable for all ages
The water park at Park Lake features an inflatable obstacle course in the middle of the Lake.
It includes a rope and rock climbing, monkey bars, slides, a raceway obstacle and other fun obstacles.
The water park is open throughout the week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
You can also enjoy other water sports and activities at the park including swimming, pedal boating and canoeing.
Enjoying outdoor activities at this waterpark is definitely one of the must do things in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
Explore Historic Route 66
Exploring historic Route 66 is a popular activity for visitors to Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
The Gateway Arch National Park in Saint Louis Missouri is a good place to start your Route 66 journey and learn about America’s Westward expansion.
TheRoute-66.com lists the top 10 attractions on Route 66 in each state including Saint Joseph church (Laguna pueblo) historic site in New Mexico and the Ariston Cafe (Litchfield) historic sites in Illinois.
Route 66 has a rich history with Native Americans, with the corridor being used by the American military and gold rush forty-niners in the mid-1800s.
The route is known for its quirky landmarks and roadside attractions including the Route 66 Auto Museum in Santa Rosa New Mexico.
When exploring this route, you will learn of America’s westward expansion and growth of automobile industry, giving rise to new towns, industries and a new vernacular architecture.
You will also learn that our Route 66 has a complicated racial history, with some of the nation’s worst acts of racial terrorism occurring along the route.
Indeed, exploring the historic Route 66 is a unique and exciting way to experience the cultural and historical richness of the United States.
Here, you can explore several attractions and landmarks and learn about the history of Santa Rosa and enjoy the scenic beauty of the American Southwest.
When it comes to photo opportunities in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, there are several picturesque locations that offer great photo opportunities.
Some of the popular photo spots include:
The Blue Hole is a natural swimming hole with crystal-clear blue waters making it a stunning location for photos.
Route 66 Auto Museum:
The museum showcases classic cars and motorcycles providing a vintage and nostalgic setting for photography.
St. Rose of Lima Church and Cemetery
This historic church and cemetery offers a unique setting for capturing architectural and cultural shots.
Pecos River Bridge
The Pecos River Bridge is a fantastic spot that spans the river providing scenic views and photo opportunities.
Pecos River Scenic Drive
This scenic drive along the Pecos River offers beautiful landscapes and views perfect for capturing the beauty of the area.
Santa Fe Plaza
While not in Santa Rosa, this Plaza has many photography spots with historic buildings, vibrant atmosphere and cultural events.
Fort Marcy provides panoramic views of the city and surrounding landscapes making it a great spot for landscape photography
Although not in Santa Rosa, this Ranch offers surreal views and the geological formations that are perfect for capturing stunning landscapes.
Valles Caldera is a volcanic crater with scenic meadows and wildlife providing ample opportunities for nature photography.
These photo opportunities offer a variety of subjects and backgrounds, including historical places and cultural landmarks as well as natural landscapes.
Santa Rosa and its surroundings offer a wealth of opportunities for beautiful photographs, whether you want to capture the splendor of nature, the nostalgia of Route 66, or the cultural history of the region.
Final Thoughts on Things to Do in Santa Rosa, NM
As you’ve seen from the above list, there are many fun things to do in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.
The options are plenty ranging from parks to diving in the Blue Hole and when you need to quell the hunger pangs, there are restaurants along the historic Route 66 that offer authentic New Mexican cuisines.
All you have to do is plan your trip and explore the best that Santa Rosa, New Mexico has to offer.